Luxury yacht in graft probe arrives in Malaysian port

Luxury yacht in graft probe arrives in Malaysian port

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has thanked Indonesian President Joko Widodo and the Indonesian government for their assistance in handing over to Malaysia the "Equanimity" which the Indonesian authorities had seized.

In a Facebook video, Mahathir thanked Indonesia for returning the $250 million yacht, Equanimity, which was seized by Indonesia off Bali in February in co-operation with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The yacht was handed over to Malaysian authorities at the Indonesian island of Batam, and was expected to reach Malaysia's Port Klang "within 48 hours", a spokesman for Mahathir said in a text message.

Low also wants the U.S. to state any efforts it has made to secure the vessel in a status report by Aug 17, and say what actions the USA has taken to get clarification of Malaysia's intentions.

A luxury yacht allegedly bought with money stolen from the multibillion-dollar looting of a state investment fund arrived Tuesday at a Malaysian port.

The 1MDB scandal led to his shocking electoral defeat in May and Najib is now facing charges.

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Opposition lawmaker Hishammuddin Hussein, who was formerly defense minister, said Tuesday that the move to close the center was a loss to the nation amid growing terrorism in the Muslim world.

"However, according to the reports and investigations done by the US Department of Justice (DoJ), they are of the opinion that this vessel was purchased with money stolen from 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd), which has been laundered by purchasing this vessel, buildings and others, so that the money won't appear to be stolen funds", Dr Mahathir added.

Lawyers representing the wanted financier, also known as Jho Low, filed a notice yesterday to a California district court to direct the USA government to reveal its knowledge of the yacht's transfer.

"The Court issued a Warrant of Arrest against it", he said in a statement today. Following the handover of the yacht to Malaysia, the Justice Department has sought to suspend legal proceedings to determine what Malaysia plans to do with the vessel. Najib, who set up and oversaw 1MDB, denies any wrongdoing.

Mahathir has said anyone who wants to claim ownership of the yacht must show proof that the vessel was not bought with stolen funds. His current whereabouts are unknown but Malaysian authorities have said they want to bring him back to the country and prosecute him.

Civil lawsuits filed by the DOJ listed a total of US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

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